Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Time is HERE...... Yikes!!

I'm on the last little bit of my "Christmas knitting". Thought I'd share what I've finished.

This is the moebius that I started when we were on vacation. It is fingering weight (sock) yarn from Socks that Rock in Pebble Beach.

Next up are "Fuzzy Feat". A pair of felted slippers. I made these with Paton's SWS (soy wool stripes). They're for my sister who keeps her house at frigid temperatures.

And the "piece of resistance" .........

His and Hers Sock Monkey Hats!! These are for sister and her boyfriend and were too much fun. I have enough for one more and may just have to make one for DH.

Getting ready to sign off for the day. DH will probably be at the office until way late. He just feels he has too much to do. I'm going to put everything off until next year, but that's just me.

I'll have more knitting in about a week, but for now, signing off until 2008! I hope everyone out there has a happy, healthy and Merry Christmas (no matter how you celebrate)! Stay safe.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And I thought I'd have knitting.....

..... but I have this instead. For those of you who really don't know, the "premier" weather forecasters are right here in State College. That would be Accuweather. You know that Elliot guy that you may hear on your local radio channel? He shops at Wegman's with me. Oh yeah, and the National Weather Service is based here too. And PSU has the top meteorology program (check out the live video and Bad Meteorology) in the country. In the last survey, 25% of all the working meteorologists graduated from Penn State. (Including a "TV weather reading" course where the students are required to "dress up" and read the weather in front of a green screen. To add insult to injury the course is always scheduled at 8:00am too!) We are pretty much weather central. So is it any wonder that we're all weather weenies.

Here what I see today on Accuweather:


We're in that band between 80 and 22. Now doesn't this sound like fun?

As late as the mid-nineties Accuweather was run out of three little houses on College Avenue. The roofs had satellite dishes, and unless you knew they were there, you completely passed them by. Sometime in the late nineties, they moved about 5 miles to a glass faced building that resembles [probably] Mission Control.

So these constant and ever evolving winter storms occupy most of our time on a much more "personal" level. We're pretty strange here, that's for sure.

Friday, November 16, 2007

This is going to be .....

...... a very long year. Currently, I am so sick of politics I want to run away...but to where? A few months ago I heard a priest say that with how contentious politics have become it is the new racism, and it is just as awful. I must say I agree. How in the world can you "hate" someone for supporting a certain idea, or person? How in the world can you "hate" anyone who has the balls to run for office? You might not respect their ideas, you might not trust them, maybe you wouldn't want to share a meal with them but "hate"? The mind boggles. And how is this hate different than hating someone for being a particular race, or religion? Sigh.

But on to happier things. I have some knitting! Yes, indeed. Since the recipient of this gift doesn't read my be monkeys!!

And how tacky is it that I'm trying on socks that I made for someone else? I ask you. Well, my feet were clean, and I only had them on for the few seconds it took to take the photo. I used Pacapeds yarn, a wool/alpaca blend-very soft, very lovely. I have another skein, but in pinks and purples and I think I'm going to use them for me! I used a size #1 needle, instead of the #2 called for, and I changed the pattern to add stitches to the repeat. Of course, they fit perfectly (I'd make the foot longer for me) but now I cannot remember what the heck I did. I began with the #2, but the twisted rib looked so wide, I was afraid they'd just creep down on the recipient.

So now unless I had the presence of mind to actually write down my changes, I'll have to reinvent the wheel again.

Leave it to me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Anniversary Darling!!

And no--it doesn't feel like 200 years. It just feels like a good 20!

Here's to 20 more!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The money shot....

Last week we were away--away from work, away from ringing phones, away from nearly everything we usually do....OK not away from sports, but you can't really have it all. We did what is nearly impossible to do on any vacation. You try to do a lot of different things, and end up so exhausted, the vacation ends up a lot like work. Well, somehow that didn't happen. Even though we hiked, went to a jazz concert at a museum, visited two wineries, hiked some more, went to a beaded jewelry and costume showing at a gallery (me), and visited Kentuck Knob, we didn't wear ourselves out. It was wonderful. And as a bonus, I got this shot when my dear husband, on a whim, decided to stop at Tharp Knob in Ohiopyle State Park, just to see the overlook. It had been raining all day, and I was not happy to walk across sodden meadows...that is until I saw this.

You just can't plan a shot like this. This is above the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle State Park and the town of Confluence. If you look closely you can see the homes of Confluence, and the bend in the Yough (lower left). Also notice how green the leaves were--still.

As we turned to leave I got this.....

Look closely [again] and you can see a kite caught in the branches of the tree on the right in the mid-ground.

Damn he does have a good idea now and again........

Monday, October 08, 2007

You have em'

... I know you do. Those festivals and fair(e)s that occur in communities all over North America. I can guarantee, however, that you do not have THIS particularly festival.

What are these men doing?

Why, silly billy, they are celebrating the culmination of The Fabulous 1890s Weekend in Mansfield, PA of course! They are costumed as football players in the 1890s. 1892 to be exact! Because in 1892, in Mansfield, PA, the first night football game was played under electric lights. The first time in the entire WORLD. The story is on the web site, but the short version is that General Electric decided to display their brand new invention, the electric light, at what was then the Mansfield Fair. Mansfield Normal School (now Mansfield University) played Wyoming Seminary (Wilkes Barre, still Wyoming Seminary "under the lights". The reenactment is hysterical, and accurate, including the plays, like the flying wedge. In 1892, there were no electric light anywhere in town, but they brought ONE in for the game.

The "fabulous" festival is little more than a community fair, but for the "football game". However, it embodies the best of small town America. Throughout the day there are demonstrations, like 1890s boxing reenactments; clogging, contra, and square dancing; a Miss 1890's pageant with the ladies dressed in period garb (sorry no pictures of that), hot air balloons...

You name it, but the piece de resistance is the football game reenactment, down to the refs in top hats and tails, and the "medical help" being a bucket of water. (In previous years it has been in the 40's in late September in the evening, and I always felt sorry for the poor kid who ended up getting doused with a bucket of water. This year it was in the high fifties, so it didn't bother me as much.)

These photos were the best I could do with minimal lighting, but I've tried to point out the ONE light pole that is erected in the MIDDLE of the field. The players had to play around it and if a player tripped over it, so be it.

The arrow points to the replica electric light.

To close out the event we have fireworks!!

Accompanied by "The Pride of Pennsylvania" Marching Band from Mansfield University.

I gotta tell ya. It gives me goose bumps, and this year it wasn't from the cold.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And so it goes......

This morning I was doing my usual routine. I took a moment to flop on the sofa to sip my tea and peruse the newspaper. When I walked back into the kitchen, there was a note taped to my patio door. I didn't hear the gate on the fence, I didn't hear the sliding screen, I didn't hear ANYTHING, yet there is a note. The painter (condo association is having the buildings painted) wants to know which day I want my doors painted. When I tracked him down on my way out, he wanted to know when I could "give him access" so he could paint all around the door and LEAVE IT OPEN FOR AN HOUR OR SO. Hey fella, we work!! And we've had "mouse incidents" from the corn field across the street. And the place is lousy with grey squirrels. I don't know if it's a good idea to leave the doors ajar.....Sigh. Can I please have a week without drama? Please? Meanwhile, I'm recovering from my second or is it third(?) go around with this cold.

But I have pictures of FOs! Hurrah!

This is my Chevron variation of the mobius. I found this "pattern" on the Mason-Dixon blog. Ann made it up, did it double stranded with Sea Silk. Mine is Artyarns in 100% Regal Silk color 115 - with lovely AB clear 4mm square beads. Note the lovely blending color of the clothes pins......It's a little hard to see the chevron pattern.

Here's a closeup of the beads. Looks like I set them in a pattern, but I didn't they are completely random. I'll stick beads in just about anything.

This was a little "trickesy" to knit. Because of the slippery, silkiness of the yarn, I started out using Denise needles. But I couldn't get the cables to slide easily in the mobius cast on. I then went to KP Options. The cable was better, but the needles were soooo slick, I lost stitches in the YO k2tog pattern twice and had to frog. It's pretty simple knitting if you're not a clutz.

The pattern a la Ann Shayne:

5 rows k5,yo,k2tog
5 rows p5,yo,k2tog

I used a #5 needle, and an i-cord cast off. It took about a skein and a half to knit about thirty rows and cast off.

The trick is to figure out how big you want your mobius, and to cast on a multiple of 7, minus one stitch. You want to move the beginning of your round one to the left each row. Just for reference, I cast on 195 stitches, and it took me multiple tries to get it right!

Edited to add: When I displayed this creation for my hubby, he admired it appropriately, then said, "Um, I hate to tell you this, but it's twisted......" Sigh......

I <3 Bonne Marie! I finished CeCe! Just in time for cool weather! That's me! Perfect timing. Her pattern is wonderful. Very complete. Very clearly written. But I screwed up twice. It wasn't her fault. Apparently, I can't read. Here's the finished product, with our fading impatiens in the background:

I was afraid that it wasn't going to fit. That the neckline would be too low and "open" and floppy. Ahhhh, not to worry it fits great. (I just wish a smaller size fit great, but I digress.) I know you'd love to see how great it does fit, but I have a confession. I do not know how to use the timer on my [relatively new] camera. I just got it last Christmas, and I'm still fooling with it. I'll try and work it out soon so I can get a decent photo. I have not mastered the mirror shot yet. Working on it!

But there's a story here:

This is a handmade Fimo button. In the early nineties I was just beginning to teach computer science and I was teaching an intro class for the very first time. Anyone who has taught a class for the first time knows that it is fraught with pitfalls and quicksand. Add to the usual mess, tech classes especially, are prone to change at the speed of .... well .... electrons. What was valid last semester, can be gone in a matter of weeks. So this was only the first or second time I was teaching this particular class. This however, was a group of students that particularly stood out. Among the traditional students, I had a grandmother in her fifties, recently divorced, who was going to "learn this stuff" come hell or high water, a young mother, who brought her three year old once or twice just so she could finish an assignment (she was later killed in a horrible accident, all I could think about was that toddler), an adult student who couldn't understand why he needed to show up for class, particularly tests, and a professional artist. It was a tough semester for all of us, but we got through it with patience and lots of laughter. At the end of the semester, the class presented me with a gift -- a set of dry erase markers because I could never find one that worked in the classroom. The artist gave me a card of her hand made buttons. She knew I was a knitter, and told me they were for my next cardigan. I could not refuse. I've had them all these years, just waiting for that cardigan. I think it's the perfect accent! Don't you?


Cascade Sierra (80 pima cotton/20 wool)- Sunset (I just fell in love with the color.)
4 skeins (192 yds/skein) I bought five.
I went down TWO needle sizes to even get close to gauge. I think the pattern called for 6 and 7, and I used 4 and 5. And yes I washed the swatches before measuring.

Sierra has a great hand and is not as splitty as some cottons. Thanks to the wool, I think, it is a lot lighter than I expected. It blocked beautifully. Even with my unorthodox blocking method. (Soak in sink, spin in washer.....)

I'm going to make this again, maybe even with Sierra, again, but with long sleeves. I like it THAT much and it was a fun knit. Once I learned to read. Right after I get started on the b. marie Ribby Cardi. I also have her bucket hat pattern. Great easy knit. Bonne, will you marry me? My husband won't mind.......

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finally.....yarn stuff.

One aspect of my job is that it takes me to locations all over the state. On occasion I get lucky and there is actually a yarn store in the area that I'm visiting--AND it's open. The moon has to be in the right orbit for that to happen.

It happened last month in York, PA. I was in the area to do a faculty workshop, and a LYS, Uncommon Threads, had evening hours. Eureka!

After struggling in Harrisburg traffic for much too long, I checked into my hotel, dealt with the usual issues (e.g., my key cards (both) refused to work), then got into my car to try and find the shop. I had my mapquest map in hand, and it's not like the city of York, is all that huge. Well, the problem that presented itself was that there was a carnival at "the stadium" and the locals decided to close numerous roads around the stadium. Well, it took about 30 minutes to go 5 or so miles. When I finally found the place I realized I had stumbled into their weekly stitch and bitch. Though, frankly, these people were so lovely, there wasn't a lot of bitching going on. The owner Beth (Hi Beth!) was lovely and made me feel welcome. I must admit, though, I did feel a little out of place. I had knitting with me (duh), but didn't knit. Instead, I mostly admired the work of everyone else, and talked about the knitted beaded bracelet I was wearing. Beth, a woman after my own heart, has a "thing" for knitting with beads.

And because I never know what to do when faced with an embarrassment of gorgeous, yarny, riches, I just bought sock yarn. I wanted to buy Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock because I have never used it before, but the price on each of the skeins (which were tied together, presumably to make a pair) was $19.95! Yikes, thought I, that's too rich for me. I wish I had asked though. Of course, they meant that it was $19.95 for both skeins, not each. Duh. I can be an idiot. Really. Instead I bought this.

This is Pacapeds sock yarn (20/65/15, alpaca/merino/nylon). I had never heard of it before. It is incredibly soft and lovely. I had intended to make socks using this for both mother and mother-in-law, but I think I have to try it for myself. The luster you see in the photo is pretty accurate. It is quite lovely. So one of the lovely mothers will just have to make do with Socks that Rock. Yes, I know it's a sacrifice.

I also have this from Mountain Colors. I was at Stitch Your Art Out my LYS for a Norwegian Purl class and couldn't leave without this.

I've never used Mountain Colors sock yarn for socks. The last time I used it I knit a Clapotis for my mother-in-law. It turned out great. The other weird thing is that I'm not exactly a "green" fan, but this just grabbed me. I think this has Monkey written all over it.

And if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned's because NONE of these yarns have colors on them. Weird or what?

For now I'm still tooling along on my chevron sock and my hanging gardens stole--the slog of slogs, though I'm just dying to finish it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Why this is so intense...

....I keep wondering why I'm so intensely affected by the death of our friend, especially because we lost some contact with him over the last 10 years or so, and I've come to several conclusions.

First, I met him Fall 1976. That's 31 years ago, which startles me just thinking about it. He and the man I would eventually marry came to borrow a iron from my current sister-in-law. Let me clarify, though. Her brother, my current DH, came to borrow the iron. I do not believe our friend ever owned an iron in his entire, too short, life. He was letting my DH stay with him in his one room efficiency, while my DH was working on this thesis. That's the kind of guy he was.

We were close friends for many years, even when DH and I moved away for 10 years. He was like that with everyone though. If you wanted good service in a restaurant - go with this guy. Servers, both genders, loved him. You left the restaurant knowing more about the server than you did about your sibling.

He was the best man at our wedding. We were relatively "elderly" when we got married. So we didn't have the usual hoopla that accompanies such events. I told our friend that his ONLY job as best man was to get my soon-to-be DH to the chapel on time. (DH is often not where he should be at the time he needs to be.) About 10 minutes before the service was to begin, my sister, who has a wicked sense of humor came down to the "brides" room. I guess I was supposed to be primping, but anyone who knows me knows that a "primper" I am not. Instead I was wishing we had had the presence of mind to stop and pick up a bottle of wine. She said "Guess who's not here?" My first and only thought, which I expressed, was "I'm going to kill him!" (Not stopping to decide which who I was going to kill.)She responded, "Who? soon-to-be DH? Oh no! He's here! "Your" mother isn't here yet!" (Just to clarify it's her mother too, but we sometimes have been known to deny parentage when convenient.) Apparently the person driving my parents to the chapel got lost. But our friend came through with flying colors, and I remain grateful to this day.

There are lots of stories. Most showing what a good guy he was. (A little "off the beam" as my sister-in-law observed.) I often wished that we had remained close, but life sometimes doesn't agree. You have to play the hand you're dealt I guess.

OK, to mitigate the maudlin stuff here is a photo of my first completed chevron sock. I've been promising knitting. There's more, but I need to be home when it's light to get it right! Once I got the sizing right, this was a nice pattern to knit. I love it with the stripes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two postings for the price of one!

But still no knitting photos!

Chapter 1: The first part of August:

..I was sick, really sick, for nearly 10 days. I was keeping myself up at night coughing up a lung. At that point I had had ONE good night's sleep in TEN days. If I couldn't quit soon I was going to be a divorced woman with one lung. This was all thanks to my boss who came back from California with this stuff, then insisted on coming to work because he couldn't fathom that he was REALLLY ill. I was the first person to get it, but not the last.

To add insult to injury: Tuesday (7/31) I had Nancy and Mary Ann (two local Amish ladies, we have a thriving Amish community in the area) in to do a "deep" cleaning. This means that they do the "heavy lifting" but I'm (we're) left with the things like putting books back on shelves, putting everything back the way it was etc. It's still a s&*t load of work. Then the next day I went back to the office and ta da NO VOICE--none, nada. Literally. I had dreadful laryngitis and only two days of kick ass antibiotics. But I needed to do stuff at the office.

I took Thursday AND Friday off because I wasn't that much improved and proving, yet again, timing is everything, we had [previously purchased] tickets waiting at the Endless Mountain Music Festival in Wellsboro, PA, Friday and Saturday nights, Beethoven meets the Blues. So off we went. Me, better, but still not great. I somehow managed to not cough during the performance on Friday night, which would have been awful as it was held in the Tioga County Courtroom. Quite charming actually, even though I had to walk though a metal detector to get in and set it off with my sandals. Saturday it was brutally hot during the day and you know how that feels when you're sick. Bleh!

Sunday I was, at least, feeling human, and because we were in the area of PA with some of the most spectacular hiking, I couldn't resist. But we chose a trail that was not very difficult, so my lungs didn't protest.

I got slightly better, but was still exhausted from trying to cough out that lung. It was annoying, if nothing else. I had to get all my ducks in some kind of row because I was out of the office the next week on "vacation".

Because karma will always kick you in the ass given the opportunity, as I was checking for the link for the music festival I learned that one of the musicians we had seen, and loved, on Friday and Saturday, committed suicide on Monday morning. Even more odd, he was a member of the jazz faculty here, and we didn't know it. It was like getting kicked in the stomach.

I leave you with scenes from Colton Point in the Endless Mountains.....

Chapter II - The last part of August

.....when you least expect it. You simply get gobsmacked.

We left our heroine in the last Chapter simply incredulous that a 31 year old musician was so depressed that the applause and accolades didn't mean anything and he killed himself. It was bizarre to say the least, and it really affected both me and DH more than it had any right to. A week later, and I was still sick, and on vacation, so I go back to the doc for an even more kick ass antibiotic.

The second trip to the doc happened because we hiked the trail, known in our area, as The Indian Steps. It was as if I had asthma. I couldn't catch my breath. The "steps" go straight up the side of a minor (500 ft) mountain. I was so engaged in trying not to pass out from lack of oxygen and tumble down the rocky trail that I didn't bother to take any photos. Once at the top the going was easier and might even have been enjoyable, but we were so late in the day (thanks dear!), that the possibility existed that we wouldn't make it back to an easily negotiable trail while it was light. So we pretty much hot footed it over very rocky terrain for about 3 miles. Did nothing to help my physical state. As it was, we reached a snow mobile trail as the light failed and had to hike the last mile and a half in the pitch dark. That's pretty spooky in deep woods in Central PA, what with our never ending supply of black bears, bob cats, and white tail deer.

Anyway, the remainder of our vacation was fairly uneventful. Here's what we did:

Nothing says summer like sweaty, big football players running around the practice field at St. Vincent's college. (Steeler's training camp)

We came back last week to a whirlwind of work. I was out of town on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday morning I was exhausted as usual after a trip, and was running late. I didn't read the local paper-- really, because I am simply not interested in who won the pig or African Violet competitions at the Grange Fair. As I took the paper upstairs to DH, I flipped through the first section just to see if there was anything pertaining to student arrival, when I passed the obit page. To my horror, there was a photo of the friend who was the best man at our wedding. Due to illness and a divorce and a remarriage, and other life changes, we hadn't seen him very much in the recent past. DH ran into him relatively regularly at counseling events. But I didn't. He had died in the hospital on Wednesday morning, but there was no clue about what was wrong.

On Saturday, it was stifling hot, we put on suits and pantyhose (me, ugh), and went to a memorial service at a local church. It was there we learned that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma in March. A rare form of lymphoma according to his wife. Many people with lymphoma can live rather well, sometimes for years with treatment. So for him to die in four months, this bugger had to be virulent. I had been consoling myself with the notion that he had gone swiftly and unexpectedly via a heart attack, aneurysm, or stroke. Not only was that not the case, he actually suffered at the last. How depressing is that? He was an unusual fellow, and well loved by everyone with whom he came in contact. We are still hurting. Not least because we didn't even know he was ill, let alone dying. He had just celebrated his 59th birthday. We had just sent him a card. Our birthdays (me and DH) were just a week apart this past week. We'd always each get a card from him late--but always.

So I'm back at it. Perhaps tonight, if I can make myself do it. I'll take photos of some of my finished pieces.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The beat goes on.....

So to pick up....last week was Art's Festival week. Big dealins' around here. Usually the hottest, humidest (Webster will forgive me), gawdawful week of the summer. Last week was the loveliest week we've had so far. Yes, there was some rain, but for the most part it was sunny, in the 70's and comfortable. (If there is global warming, apparently PA is on another "globe".) I had to travel to the New Kensington Campus (again) last Thursday, the first day of the festival, so I really didn't get to scout it out. I took a quick walk around Friday, not the busiest day, and here's what it looks like:

This is lower Allen Street, the street directly across from the fake "Main Gates" of the University. The artists set up booths for 4 or so blocks around on campus, then there is lower Allen Street with some food vendors, a stage, the Artist's Embassy, and the water features with gardens. Once across Beaver Avenue, the artists begin again and run for approximately 6 or so blocks. The main streets are blocked for the entire week and for days or so afterward. To say it is a mess doesn't quite describe it. Anyway, there are in the neighborhood of 300 or so artists. It's a lot. Plus there are four venues with almost continuous entertainment--much of it bizarre, but whatever.

This is the view looking in the opposite direction. To the right is the water bucket feature, to the left and not in the photo, is the "spray tunnel". A short walk through a trellis, with plants and fine water spray. The ideas behind these is that it is usually so deadly hot, people can just walk through and get refreshed. Parents bring their children in bathing suits to play in the "buckets". The buckets are weighted and fill with water at varying rates. Thus they "spill" randomly soaking whomever is standing underneath. Kids love it.

Here's a view of a few dumping buckets.....

This is view down the length of Allen into town. About four blocks after this, the booths turn down a side street and continue on in a square.

So this is quite a big deal. The State Police bring in their mounted units, there are bicycle cops and medics galore, for four days it is sheer hell or heaven, depending on your point of view.

What I'm finding you look at that crush of people in the last photo, is that people find it necessary to bring their pets. All kinds of dogs, sometimes more than one on leashes and try to walk them through the crowd. Now I like dogs as well as the next person. But this seems to me to be nearly cruel. And, apparently, these idiots, are getting so bizarre (or brazen depending on your point of view), that for the first time I saw a "no pets" sign on the water features.......Perhaps that's a "sign of the times". HA HA.

What did I buy? I saw a very unusual pendant that I was thinking about getting on Friday, and didn't because I had to get back to work, and the booth was way to far away to walk back to in time. When I went back on Saturday, it and everything like it, was gone. The artists made composites of faceted semi-precious stones. They ended up with a striking rainbow stone. I ended up getting wild olive colored quartz earrings from a bead artist from Florida. Probably a good thing.

On Sunday, we skipped the festivals (there is another more folksy arty one on the outskirts of town, started as a protest 10 years ago) entirely, and went to the Altoona Curve baseball game (AA Pirate affiliate). The weather channel is my curse because it has turned DH into a weather weenie, and every mention of a thunderstorm throws him into a tizzy. (And please remember we live in Central PA and there are ALWAYS thunderstorms in our forecasts in the summer! If you're reading this during July/August go ahead and look now, I'll wait....) Naturally, thunderstorms were forecast (no watches or warnings though), but as usual not a drop fell during the game.

Knitting soon....promise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If you spend....

...your time reading blogs.....ya don't spend any writing blogs.

I think this is going to become one of the sayings I use on my header. I'm going to play catchup today, because, even though I've been knitting, my frogging has been keeping my knitting from showing any progress.

We spent the 4th of July, just hanging out at home. The weather was shaky so we didn't go hiking or even go out to see the fireworks. Instead, we WATCHED THEM ON TV! I kid you not. But when you can hear the rain pounding on the roof, you just know you made the right decision. That and the fact that you have a great goblet of sangria loaded with berries at your elbow, just adds to the satisfaction.

Right after the fireworks, my DH flipping through the channels found a park ranger on our local access channel leading a tour group at Gettysburg, describing Pickett's charge. The battle of Gettysburg took place July 1 - 3, 1863. The guide was a geeky looking fellow, who turned out to be a state historian, and he was incredibly interesting. Because DH and I are both suckers for history, this turned out to be better than fireworks. Gettysburg is roughly 2 hours southeast of us--a pretty easy drive, but neither of us have ever toured the battlefields. We decided that we will try to do something like that later this summer. Besides the Boyd's Bear museum is in the vicinity.....

We did finally get to hike later in the weekend. We hiked a tiny part of the Mid-State Trail.

The Mid State Trail, Pennsylvania's longest and wildest footpath, extends 270 miles (currently) from the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-Maryland border near Artemas, northward to near Morris, in Tioga County on the Pennsylvania-New York border.

In an email to a relative, my husband wrote "we hiked Mid State Trail also
known as "The Wildest Trail in Pennsylvania". We didn't see any black bears or rattlesnakes, though, which is part of the reason for that name
. Ummmm....he neglected to tell me the rattlesnake part of this.

We had hiked a bit of it on Friday evening. Only about a mile or so along the ridge. On Sunday afternoon we decided to hike to a trail known locally as the "Indian Steps" which was probably not used by indians, nor is it steps. Just one of those weird local things. It is about 2.5 miles further along than we hiked on Friday. I can tell you that the majority of the trail was unrelenting rocks. We were both wearing Bean knife-edged hiking boots, and it was a good thing. The first .5 mile or so is an easy jog down a track used to service the high tension lines at the top of the mountain. Once you leave the area of the towers, though, rocks, rocks and more rocks ...the perfect home for snakes...Yoi! And the perfect recipe for twisted ankles. I hate snakes--even more than twisted ankles. It also made the going so slow we had to turn around before we reached the Indian Steps. We were probably close, but could only guess based on our pedometer readings which refused to agree.

I love this though. This is the view over Rt 45 to the north west.

This is DH overlooking the view to the south east.

Yeah there is a great swath cut through the forest for the power lines. But even with that there is something weirdly powerful about it.

I think that next time we're going to hike UP the "steps" to the Mid-State and see how far we get.

Next time, Art's Fest!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Has it really be OVER two months....why yes it has. Why have I not posted you may be wondering....well because I haven't finished a damned thing. Really. I've been knitting, but it's all going into some great cosmic black hole of knitting. Anyone actually understand string theory? (Pun intended.)

I've been knitting and re-knitting a lovely silk mobius. It has a 196 stitch cast on which if you're mobius cast-on savvy, you know it means that it has nearly 400 effective stitches each round. I'm finally close I can taste it. If I had remembered to bring the I-cord cast off instructions with me today, I would have been knitting it off the needle, this past lunch hour. It will wait until I get home for the holiday.

I'm working on a B. Marie CeCe too. Great pattern that I'm making way harder than it ought to be. I'm mystified how I knitted tremendously hard things, very much in isolation, back in the 80's (translated most from flat to in-the-round knitting no less), and now, because there is such a rich on-line community where I can ask advice, I'm acting like a scared kid. Sheesh.

Yesterday, our office financial person came to me and told me that my employer (you can guess who that is) lost my I-9 form. They couldn't write a new contract without it. Huh? I had no idea I even had an I-9 let along what it meant. Well, it is proof of US residency. Somehow between last year, and this year, the record of my residency disappeared. Did I have my SS card and license on me? Because identity fraud is so rampant, why would I even THINK to carry my SS card. Well...could I go home and get it? Well, yeah, but it might take some time. I don't know if many of you are like me, but I know I have it, but the last time I needed to produce it was probably nearly 20 years ago, when I first started here. I was a tad miffed to say the least. There are probably illegal aliens (yes, illegal, not "undocumented", I am/was an "undocumented American" Mr. Reid, not the guy/gal who waded across the Rio Grande, but I digress) working over at the Day's Inn and no one is going to bother him...sheesh.

Anyway, I went home and, thankfully, without too much ado, found the needed documents. It felt too late to go to the gym (any excuse in a storm) so I went for a walk in our neighborhood. The walk begins in a small "parklet" nearby and follows a trail to the high school track. Back and forth it's about two + miles. A few laps around the track (nice surface) and the walk grows to three miles. Anyway, as I was heading toward the park I see this on the horizon.... (forgive the bad image, it was my cell phone)

The weather was lovely, low 70's, sunny, perfect for hot air ballooning. While this sight isn't that unusual in our area, this fellow seemed reeeallly low.

As I reached the park, he flew about 150 feet in the air, over the occupied ball field and tennis courts. There was a crowd of people trailing after him on the ground. (I can tell you a miniature collie wasn't happy that this huge creature was just dropping in.) Then he landed, perfectly, on a small strip of park, between the walking paths and a busy town street.

Never a dull moment I can tell you.

And the happy ending is that as of today, I'm officially a US resident in the eyes of my employer. Again......

Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Knitting at last ....take two.

Take two... because I don't know what happened to my nearly completed posting........

These are my Rock and Weave socks from Blue Moon.

These are made using the medium weight yarn, Chapman Springs colorway. I'm not sure I like the medium weight because they feel slightly rough on the bottoms of my feet, but washing might take care of that.

This is my favorite part though:

Note the kitty head buttons, are they not just too cute? Am I not just bizzaro?

This next piece is the Argosy scarf from Knitty.

I used about 200+ yards of Brooks Farm Harmony (50% silk/50% wool) left over from a Christmas gift. I was "afeared" that I wouldn't be able to make a scarf long enough for my taste, but it turned out longer than necessary. This is great fiber, and perfect to wear for our cool mornings, then warm afternoons. Light, yet warm, and it interpreted the pattern beautifully.

Aren't the colors grand?

I'd better stop before this post gets eaten too!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How dumb am I....

Wait don't answer that!

I've been struggling all day with blogger not showing images. What the heck is going on, thought I? Sheesh! Well, when I went to ABCNews and I couldn't get the images to show there either......I realized that the problem was me NOT blogger.

Weeelllllp, yesterday I was trying to get rid of some cookies and the like in Firefox and tighten up my security. I, accidentally on purpose, checked the box that only allowed images from the referring site. Duh. Where did I think those images in blogger came from? Blogger or a second site.

I finally realized what was going on and fixed it. Double duh!

Monday, April 16, 2007

This was going to be about knitting....

I have pictures, I really do! But early this morning, my husband sent me a breaking news story about a shooting at VA Tech. At that point in time, there was one confirmed death.

I've just gotten back from lunch and now there are 32 dead! As you all can guess from my location, we work on a college campus. A very large college campus. We have our share of people who are mentally ill and some just general crazies. And like most college campuses, it would not be hard for someone with a "hitch in their giddiup" to wreck havoc. We had such a person in the late nineties. She was psychotic and off her meds and brought a high powered rifle to campus. One person shot and injured and one killed. It was a horrible event. It occurred right across the street from my husband's office, and he often walked that way. I later learned that I had probably passed this individual on my way to my building. She was carrying a backpack (with a rifle inside). She blended in so well, I hadn't even noticed her.

Now VA makes my blood run cold. College campuses by design are open. I cannot imagine how, either technically or philosophically, it could be otherwise. But we walk around every day without fear.

How do we do that?

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the people who are hurt and killed. I cannot imagine.

Monday, April 02, 2007


.... have a hankerin' for some Doublemint Gum?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bad Cat Nurse.

This is how my sister described herself in an email to me this morning.

I have to admit, my sister is a great people nurse. Compassionate without sentimentality. Doesn't let doctors bamboozle patients. Tells it like it is. We refer to her, affectionately, of course, as Nurse Rachet. Has been known to crush a few administration and resident "youknowwhats" if appropriate. But she's a dreadful cat nurse.

The good news. Hefner has apparent gastritis. Meaning he ate something. For Hef, that could mean anything that didn't eat him first. The vet's insructions were to keep him away from food for 24 hours to make sure he didn't barf and dehydrate himself, and to monitor his, ahem, leavings. Like the rest of us, she has to work, but leaves at some godawful hour to take report. When she tried to shut him in a bedroom to keep him away from the other cat's food, this is a direct quote:

"He looked at me like your putting me in jail!!!"

And you know what this means. Hefner is now running around the house terrorizing Trixie (aka: Dementia for reasons that will go unexplained). This from a woman who has been known to tell human patients to "suck it up", and "be happy you are alive and recovering" or "don't take your meds and die, it's fine with me". (Now you see the Nurse Rachet reference.)

All I can say is that if I was sick. I'd sure want her on my side.

So for now, all seems well. If more barfing occurs, the vet may have to x-ray him for "foreign objects". Oh glory. What next!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The week from hell... now history. But, naturally, there is cleaning up to do. And frankly, I'm just too tired to do it.

The conference I coordinated went well. I was pleased with the comments (unsolicited) that we received. The anonymous evaluations look good. So all the hard work was worth it I think.

Today, however, the news isn't all dandy. My sister sent me email to tell me she fed her cat some of the poisoned food. Not alot, but enough to worry her. He is going to the vet today for bloodwork. She will be unconsolable if something happens to him. He's not her only cat, nor even her "favorite", but he's a sweetie and has got quite a personality, and I know she'd take his death very hard.

I tried to marshall all my knowledge about kidney disease and poison clearance rates (I did renal research for 6 years, including clearance rates for drug companies.) but I'm not sure I helped much. Now it is just a matter of trying to hope everything is OK.

This is a photo of Hefner in his Kitty Pi Bed. He's even cuter in real life, and you just have to love a cat who appreciates knitting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and....well more Good ....

This past weekend we were supposed to be doing some fun stuff, but first we had to get there. Naturally, it snowed (and snowed and snowed) on Friday, and that made the traveling we were supposed to do on Saturday a risky proposition.

So I switched our season Saturday night tickets and we ended up doing this on Sunday afternoon. It was fabulous. Etta Cox has some set of pipes on her!

Unfortunately on the way back to the hotel to change here's the bad.....

Sigh. Rear ended at a stop sign on an on ramp to the Ft. Pitt Bridge. Yunz in the 'Burgh know exactly where I'm talking about.

Then..."it was a hockey night in Pittsburgh"! (With apologies to Mike Lange.)

And wow was that fun! It was my very first hockey game. The boys (two thirds of the team are under 23 and a handful, the best players, are under 21, I'm not kidding when I say boys) won! And we saw an overtime and a shootout.

Not the final score, but dandy anyway.

And Rich was impressed too! He's just very intense when it comes to sports.

You can't say we're not eclectic!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Felting progress....

Franco's sibling is moving right along. He is loosely stuffed and drying after felting. He should be plenty dry tonight. I'll give him eyes and you'll really see his personality come out.

It only took him about 48 hours to be complete dry, but he'll actually be sitting about 72 hours. And I'll let you in on a little secret. I spin cycle all of my felting, and most of the items I wash for blocking. I don't put it through the rinse and spin, but only through the spin at the end of the wash. Since I use a non-rinsing wool wash, there is no reason to rinse. And I know the caveat is that the felting will crease, so far....knocking on every piece of wood in the vicinity....I've yet to have a crease appear.

I then set the piece on the edge of our (unused) kitchen table, where the heat/AC is vented from the ceiling. Easy peasy.

On the fancy ass contact front, my doc is reordering and refitting my contacts, and I will now try tri-focals. I'm wearing my old lenses and they feel very good. My far vision suffers though.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Heading toward the finish line....

I actually started this post yesterday, and phffft! gone. Who the heck knows what I did. But the finish line in question is for this:

Yes indeedy, Franco's brother is this close to being felted. I do my felting on Saturday or Sunday mornings when hubby is dead to the world. Fewer "what the hell are you doing?" questions that way. But since this was brother's state yesterday, today, he is no longer in pieces. He is all ready to pop into the washer this weekend!! Yea! By this time next week I may have twinsies (how does one spell twinsies?)

But what is making all of this harder is that I've just gotten new fancy ass contacts. They are bifocal lenses, and I have great distance vision, pretty good near vision, but NO middle (arms length) vision. Thus, all of a sudden, I can't see the computer screen. And since most of my work is tech based. This is a real problem. I have a very nice optometrist, and I fear this will be quite a disappointment to him. We get three shots to get this right, then I can return them, hopefully for a refund.

So I've been struggling in a week when I really shouldn't be.

Meanwhile, I've started the Rock and Weave socks from STR. They're really going to be cute and I think pretty easy to knit. The linen stitch is simply a two row, two stitch, pattern, but I was so tired last evening, I couldn't remember the pattern sequence. So I gave up.

It really does have the makings of a great "on-the-go" project. Which is good because we'll be really "on-the-go" next weekend. Another reason to get Franco's brother felted.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm lazy... there are no photos to accompany this post. I am forging ahead with my new flamingo, which will be a b-day gift for my sister. And I'm putzing around with my Hanging Gardens Lace Stole. I'm using Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud laceweight. This will be only the second piece I'm working on using real laceweight yarn. I've knit other lace, but using DK, sport or worsted. I find this much more difficult. Perhaps also because the pattern repeat is like 40-something rows long, AND I'm not a chart fan. I understand the attraction people have to charts, but I don't want to carry an entire chart around. Instead I carry a stack of index cards with each row written out and held together with a ring. When I finish a row I flip the card. That way I don't have to guess where I am. In this case, too, the wrong side rows are all purl. So I only have to note the patterned rows. Note the title of the posting.

In other "news" my Knit Picks "purse" lost an eye. This is the little clutch like piece that attached to the outside of the larger bags. The metal eye just plum pulled out. So I called KP customer service, and as is their rep, they were more than gracious. The only problem is that they are not selling the purse part separately anymore. What the heck is up with that? The customer service person couldn't tell me what was going on so I think I'm going to send them an email because it just doesn't make sense. They gave me credit for the purse, and that is that. I'm really disappointed because I am really liking these bags. I am hauling them everywhere.

Monday, February 12, 2007

One more time....

I tried to organize this post on Friday, and found that I did something amazingly wrong. Instead of a graphic and some text, I got text interspersed with html image code. I have no idea how that happened.

But here we have yet another bmarie bucket hat, modeled by Orsis, my favorite model. You can see that Orsis doesn't care about his robust figure. I like that. Along with the hat is...yes...another mobius scarf. So now this makes three, and ya'll won't believe this, but yes, I have another on my mind. But I'm still working on the lace-one repeat done! And another new project. This one a sibling of an earlier piece. It's going great guns, and I'm shocked at how quickly it is moving along. So soon, I'll have something new to show.

Meantime we are dry and frigid here, but eureka! Tommorrow we are looking forward to snow. All our cars are a mess. Mine still has a "bra" on it. I was pretty good about taking it off and washing the thing to keep the finish from getting messed up, but it has been just too cold to wash anything. The entire vehicle is now covered with a layer of road dirt and salt like I just cannot believe. You can't get in or out with getting filthy. I hate this time of year.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If only....

....I could add up all the rows I've knit (and frogged) on my Hanging Garden's Stole (Harding pattern), I'd be halfway done.

Maybe I am just not cut out to knit lace.

I have no pictures because.....well, there is nothing to photograph when it keeps getting frogged.


What it is they say? Third time's a charm?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Furious and well....

... not exactly fast.

I finally finished the socks I'm giving to my mom for Christmas....Merry Christmas Mom!! They are just a vanilla recipe, made from Knit Picks Dancing in Two Step I think. My mom has delicate tootsies, so I'm hoping these won't make her feet "burn".

Heinz Bear would also like to show you the mobius scarf I just finished, for me, from Ellyn Cooper's Sonnet in gold patina. I am having a love affair with the mobius scarf. I'm finding that it is a very comfortable scarf to wear, and as a bonus, tons of fun to knit!

Here' s a simple purl ridge mobius with an I-cord bind off. Makes the edges much neater than just a loose bindoff.

The close up is a better representation of the colors and you can see the gold that is spun through the yarn. The funny thing is the yarn is 98% wool, and 2% gold patina. I'd love to make something bigger with it, but it is rather expensive (though I did get it on sale), and I don't think I could talk myself into making that kind of investment.

Lastly, here is a Chicknits Bucket Hat made with Patons SWS. Those of you familiar with

Patons SWS will realize that these colors are a tad too saturated. I couldn't seem to get them right even with Photoshop. Also SWS has unique felting "issues". It felts like a wild thing. This hat was as big as one of those Dr. Seuss hats when it went in and in FIVE (count'em 5) minutes was felted to this size. I would have prefered a shorter brim, but sheesh.....If you look at the previous post you can see what happened the last time I tried that. I tweaked B-Marie's pattern to accommodate this, but perhaps not enough. So there you have it....knitting content at last. Feels good!

Monday, January 08, 2007


...have a photo of a FO to post. I am experimenting with my new digital camera. This photo is of a reversible bead knitted bracelet. There are things I would do differently, but for for the moment "is gut" (as my Amish friends would say).

The slide clasp is 14K gold filled and cost a [relative] fortune. This is knitted using two colors of size 5 Miyuki triangle beads, so you're not seeing things. The gold beads really are dark on one side and light on the other. I also added off white Miyuki teardrops (also known as tiny tims) for pattern interest.

The odd crystal thing on the one end is a Swarovski button. This bracelet started out life with a knitted buttonhole that one could slip the button through. (I was struggling like crazy to NOT have to buy that damn slide clasp.) Alas, it just wasn't durable, and I had to struggle to put the piece on to wear it, the buttonhole was either too big or two tight etc., etc., etc., . So over the New Year's weekend. I picked it apart and added the slide clasp and now, I'm way happier. I left the buttons (one on each side) just for fun.

I have other FOs, including THREE of b-marie's felted bucket hats. They are all completely different, and not all successful, as the bear in the photo will attest. Cell phone photo, so please forgive the grainy nature of the picture.

I know I have some 'splainin' to do as to how a woman who can successfully felt a flamingo can turn a bucket hat into a WWI helmet.

Wait until you see the other two hats.